Sarawak outlines digital economy strategy at Pacific Telecommunications Council Conference 2020

Mohd Morshidi giving delegates a glimpse of Sarawak’s digital economy journey at the Pacific Telecommunications Council Conference 2020.

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KUCHING, Jan 23: A strong delegates consisting of senior officers from the Sarawak government and leading Sarawak-based telecommunications companies, Sacofa Sdn Bhd (Sacofa) and PP Telecommunication Sdn Bhd (PPTel), participated in the recent Pacific Telecommunications Council Conference in Hawaii.

A press statement said Sarawak’s strong investment potential has been highlighted to international telecommunications players by a board member of Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), Tan Sri Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani, during the conference held from Jan 19-22.

“One of the state’s digital economy initiatives was to leapfrog Sarawak into a regional digital powerhouse, bolstered by the ever-expanding infrastructure, implementation of cutting-edge technology and deep commitment of the industry players to support and grow the telecommunications ecosystem,” the former Sarawak State Secretary said.

He noted that while SMA is spearheading the comprehensive initiatives of Sarawak’s digital economy to develop the state into a high-income economy as envisioned by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Sacofa and PPTel are diligently doing their part to facilitate world-class internet connectivity via an elaborate network of submarine cables and interchanges to link Sarawak to the rest of the world.

Sacofa, a leading telecommunications infrastructure provider in Sarawak, owns and manages the largest number of telecommunications structures in the state and over 11,000km of terrestrial fibre network and submarine cable system.

Sacofa revealed that its cable system “Sacofa Undersea Cable Infrastructure (SUCI)” connects Kuching to Mersing, Johor, with links to Singapore and Batam, Indonesia, via SEAX 1.

It outlined that the interconnectivity SUCI would offer was anticipated to be highly conducive to the implementation of high-speed broadband services in Sarawak and attract potential data centre players, looking at Sarawak that require connectivity diversification and elsewhere in the region – across the island of Borneo and beyond.

At the same time, PPTel said it is also playing a key role in putting Sarawak on the digital map with their Sarawak International Internet Gateway (SIIG) roll out plan, enhancing both domestic and international fibre connectivity.

It revealed that its Batam Sarawak Internet Cable System (BaSICS) is their first private-owned submarine cable deployment system.

PPTel believed that the system is expected to be ready for service in the third quarter of 2020 (3Q2020) and connects Sarawak to Batam, and to the vast Indonesia market.

PPTel added its Indonesian partner, PT XL Axiata Tbk (XL Axiata), has extensive onward connectivity throughout Indonesia.

It noted terrestrial fibre, via existing cables from Sarawak Energy Bhd will provide an alternative backup cross border route through Kalimantan and Brunei, allowing onward connectivity to Hong Kong and Singapore via the SJC submarine cable system.

Going forward in 2023, PPTel believed its new Hong Kong-Singapore consortium cable will be launched.

In the meantime, PPTel said it will have two branches providing connectivity between East and West Malaysia, and to all neighbouring Southeast Asian countries.

It opined this will allow them to offer the lowest latency route between China (North) and Indonesia (South), by-passing Singapore.

PPTel added its tier four data centre will be operative in 4Q2020, to serve the domestic Sarawak market and make Kuching as an important edge for Southeast Asia, China and Indonesia markets.

Overall, it believed the fortification of digital infrastructure and internet connectivity will go hand-in-hand with Sarawak’s attractive features such as isolation from natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes, abundant and inexpensive renewal energy, vast natural resources, talent pool, as well as good governance which will boost Sarawak’s prospects in attracting foreign investment to the State, particularly data centres in line with the digital economy transformation aspirations as envisaged by the Sarawak government. — DayakDaily